Peng Chang-kuei died of pneumonia at the age of 98
General Tso’s Sweet And Sour Chicken creator, Peng Chang-Kuei, has died at the age of 98.
Peng reportedly died from pneumonia in Taipei, Taiwan.
His signature sweet and sour chicken dish was named after a 19th Century military leader from China’s Hunan province.
Peng’s cooking training dates back to age 13. One of the highlights of his career was becoming the banquet chef for Chinas Nationalist government. Peng fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the National forces were defeated during the Chinese civil war.
Legend has it that Peng created his signature dish whilst cooking for a visiting US Navy Admiral, Arthur Radford. Attempting to serve something new, Peng rustled up some chunks of chicken with a tad of seasoning. The admiral was impressed with the result and asked Peng for the name of the dish. Peng instinctively christened it ‘General Tso’s Chicken’.
When Peng moved to New York in 1973, he opened a Chinese restaurant and quickly grew a fan base, including Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State at the time.
Peng eventually returned to Taiwan, founding the successful eater chain Peng’s Garden Hunan restaurant.